Lost at Sea: Sea Survival Training
Everyday, many people travel the many seas around the world. Many elect to take a cruise, some choose to participate in a fishing charter, and some go on a deep-sea diving adventure. Then, there are some who simply embark on a personal fishing trip, exploration trip, or sailing trip. If you frequent the ocean, it is important to know and understand some basic techniques in sea survival training. These techniques will help to protect you should you become lost at sea. Here, I will review some basic sea survival training techniques so that if you should ever face this experience, you will know exactly what to do and how to do it.
The first thing that you should do prior to taking a trip in a vessel across the ocean is to ensure that there are enough rafts on that vessel for the people who will be traveling on it. If this is your personal vessel, you should take the time to purchase a survival raft. This may prove to be a bit more expensive, but if you find yourself in a position where you depend on this product for survival, you will be extremely glad that you invested the extra money. When purchasing a safety sea raft, be sure that it has the following features at bare minimum:
• Tall walls
• Insulation on the flooring
• Buckets for water bailing situations
• Water pouches
• Mirrors for signaling
• Extensive fishing kits
• Emergency flares
• Tape that is reflective
• Raft repair kit
• Additional sub-raft for emergencies
• Raft pump
• Float boat to carry additional supplies
A great place to find sea survival rafts is the Winslow Life Raft Company.
Grabbing the Essentials
Now, if you are traveling on a personal vessel, and have a suitable raft with a float boat in place, it is important that you stock these items with food, water, protective clothing, and blankets prior to leaving the shore. If you find that your boat is going down, it will be much easier for you to reach safety if the raft and float boat supplies have already been packed. If your ship starts to sink beneath the surface of the waters, you may want to grab a few things. The following can prove to be absolutely essential for survival when you are lost at sea:
• Sea navigational maps
• Portable CB units for communication purposes
• First aid supplies
• Lighting that is battery operated
• Mirrors to use as reflective devices
• Sun protection – rain suit, blanket, sunscreen, clothing, etc.
• Matches, or a similar source of ignition
• Tools that can be used to create things, or for protection
In my opinion, it is best to pack a backpack that contains all of these items and more in case something happens. This will allow you to grab all that is required very quickly and get on your life raft as soon as possible. Many times, when a boat goes down, the rush of ocean water can be extremely forceful and may actually trap you inside.
The Importance of Drifting
Once you are in the life raft, it is important that you row away from the sinking water vessel as quickly as you are able to. However, once you are able to get out of the natural suction of water that will encompass the sinking vessel, you should then allow the life raft to drift – at least until you can find land. Or if you know your exact coordinates and have a compass and sea navigational map, you may be able to steer. However, in the midst of all the excitement, it is quite likely that your judgment will be impaired as far as your exact coordinates – even with a compass and navigational map.
Let’s say that the sea is moving at approximately four knots by drifting. This means that you could average approximately one hundred miles easily. If the sea is moving relatively slowly, you may sit idle in one location for quite some time, and this may prove to be frustrating. However, the seas change daily, and if you remain calm, it is quite likely that the knots will increase in a short amount of time and you will once again drift towards land.
Now, when it comes to water, you will probably think that is one item that you will have plenty of. However, it is important to understand that the body requires fresh water. There are many creative ways to acquire safe drinking water while at sea. One way is to set a bucket out and collect rain water. You may even set up a tarp or other structure to collect water daily. Regardless of how much water you have on the raft, or on the float boat, it is always important to ensure that you continuously collect more.
When lost at sea, there are many different signaling techniques that can be used. First of all, you can place reflective tape all the way around your life raft. If you have four mirrors, some reflective tape, and some duct tape, you can create a structure that hangs on each side of the boat with a mirror attached to a rope. The rope should be wrapped with reflective tape and the mirror should have small pieces of reflective tape at various locations. This way, if someone comes in your direction, they can see you. It is also a good idea to have one of these mirrors pointing straight up so that aircraft can see you.
If you travel the sea, it is important to have some sea survival training. This way, should you ever become lost at sea; you can successfully survive until help arrives. By following the steps listed here, you will be able to live comfortably among the vast depths of any ocean you may find yourself in.